And just like that, Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK) has snuck a rider into the House version of the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4909) that would allow faith-based groups to take federal money and then discriminate in hiring. What does that have to do with national defense, you ask? Oh, I don't know -- perhaps TEH CHURCHEZ MUST BE ALLOWEDZ TO DISCRIMINATEZ OR TEH TERRORIZTZ WINZ!!!! And again, President Obama has bent over backwards to preserve this "right" to discriminate by accepting Tha Bush Mobb's legal arguments in favor of faith-based discrimination, but it's not enough, because it's never enough -- religious bigots will always come up with something to throw a tantrum about, even (or especially!) when you coddle them. It's not all bad news, though -- Reps. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Adam Smith (D-WA) have introduced an amendment that would strip the offending provision from the bill. So Americans United for the Separation of Church and State helps you tell your House Rep to strip Section 1094 from the defense authorization bill, and the ACLU helps you tell your House Reps to vote for the Dent-Smith amendment.
Meanwhile, Congress empowered the Federal Reserve to stop guaranteeing a 6% dividend to large banks investing in the Federal Reserve, a corporate welfare handout for banksters adding up to around $7 billion annually -- but a Wall Street lobbyist has argued, in a public comment, that repealing the handout would be an unconstitutional seizure of property. But what couldn't we claim to be an unconstitutional taking, if banksters can claim a "right" to a higher dividend on investments in the Federal Reserve? Just about any public worker could argue against pay cuts or pay freezes, and no Wall Street lobbyist walks around defending that. And even though the Fed had been paying this rate to member banks for over a hundred years, that still doesn't mean the 6% dividend came down from Mt. Sinai. Seriously, but-you've-always-given-me-that isn't an argument, it's whining, and whining from the people who wrecked our economy is worse than any other kind. So Demand Progress helps you tell the Federal Reserve to ignore Wall Street bellyaching about their "right" to handouts.
Finally, in case you were wondering, the Verizon strike is still going on, after one month -- this, after eight months of working without a contract in the obviously vain hope that they could reach an agreement with management. Hence both National People's Action and MoveOn help you tell Verizon management to give a fair contract to their workers. You may be surprised to learn that pay isn't the central issue in the strike -- certainly Verizon workers don't want their pensions frozen or workers' comp payments cut, but among other things, Verizon workers are striking over the corporation's refusal to pay enough workers to keep up with demand for the corporation's FIOS service, and also over Verizon's preference that workers work in Verizon facilities away from their homes for as long as two months. Why would a corporation do such a thing? Well, they cite "business demands" and "changing markets" and suchlike, but it really does look like they're just trying to put stress on their workers by keeping them away from their families. They'll answer to their God for it -- but they'll also become even more unpopular in the meantime.
UPDATE. The House passed their version of the NDAA by a nearly 2 to 1 margin, and it included the nefarious Russell pro-discrimination rider described above. The Senate version of the NDAA doesn't have the Russell rider in it, and President Obama has threatened a veto of the NDAA; more details (and action alerts!) as they arrive.